Thursday 29 September
On my return from Yosemite, I checked in at North Beach Hotel. I had been a bit worried that, being in Chinatown on a busy road junction, it might be very noisy. But I had a quiet room at the back of the building, with fridge and microwave, and toilet and shower next door.
San Francisco, like Chicago, is built on a grid system, with the roads going either north-south or east-west, which is annoying when you want to go north-west. It is also very hilly. Someone said it has 49 hills but I think that was a confusion with the gold rush.
Columbus Avenue, on the other hand, runs SE to NW, is almost flat, and just round the corner from North Beach Hotel where I am staying and the celebrated City Lights Bookstore, home of the Beat Generation.
Bus to Mission to join the Franciscan sisters at prayer, then explored the district and visited the Mission Museum.
After lunch, to City Lights bookstore. What a wonderful bookshop, juxtaposing sections on mathematics, crime, travel, and Eastern religions. A pity I can’t buy any of them – no room in my luggage.
Bus to Golden Gate Park, walked through the park to Ocean Bay to paddle in the Pacific,
then along the coast trail to the Praesidio area where I gave up and took a bus back to the hotel. Then back to Mission for evening prayer, mass and supper with the Franciscan brothers.
On Brother Robert’s recommendation, to St Gregory of Nyssa church. Liturgical experiment in a purposebuilt church with wall painting of dancing saints. Some interesting ideas, and a jolly anthem “How awesome is this place!” possibly left over from Michaelmas. But not as welcoming to this traveller as Grace Cathedral.
Walked to Dolores Park to eat my sandwiches and admire the view,
then up and down the hilly 21st street to meet my Servas hosts for the next two nights, Lin and Vincent. Supper included an artichoke from their garden.
Lin and I walked round the arboretum at the Botanical Gardens, and the Rain Forest and Aquarium at the Museum of the Californian Academy of Science – as a member she has free entry for self and guest. Then for a fish and chips lunch.
Tomorrow Tuesday I shall fly to Korea.